Action from Saturday’s much-needed victory in fight against relegation
PICTURES BY RAY ANDREWS
Midlands 1 West
Hereford 22 Rugby Lions 24
With only two fixtures remaining Rugby Lions visited Hereford for another crucial fixture, writes Dave Rushall.
Following last week’s bruising encounter against Dudley Kingswinford, Lions were without Chris Wood, George Curtis and Jordan Diston due to injuries, and Liam Munro and Sam James were unavailable.
They were, however, able to welcome back Adam Attenborough for his 100th appearance in a Lions shirt. Hooker Louis Addleton was forced to play at seven with Callum Hopkins and Alex Tansley completing the back row.
On a warm sunny afternoon, Lions began brightly and were soon on the scoreboard following a deft chip by Dave Weston to the right hand corner. Scott Truslove was the quickest to react and completed the touchdown unopposed. Hereford responded strongly and were rewarded with a clear run through to the line following a lineout to tie the score at five all. A period of pressure by the Lions’ pack led to the ball being shipped out wide to Alex Tansley and Truslove was on hand for his second try of the afternoon.
Again the hosts came back and a speculative kick ahead evaded the defence and the ball bounced into the hands of the Hereford right winger for an easy try. The conversion was successful to put the hosts 12-10 in front at half time.
Hereford increased their lead with a penalty following a scuffle and yellow cards for James Wilsher-Aiken and the hosts’ scrum half. Shortly after this, they went further ahead following some strong running down the centre of the pitch with a converted try to make the score 22-10. Lions began to gain the ascendency and were rewarded with a lovely try under the posts by centre Maika Burenivalu, converted by Dave Weston.
Hereford were beginning to look tired and were kicking the ball away to give full-back Simione Bituwaqa plenty of opportunity to run the ball back at them.
This was to prove very costly for the home side, when he fielded the ball on his own 22 and set off on a typical mazy run. No defenders were able to lay a hand on him and he streaked down the centre of the field to send the large contingent of Lions’ supporters into raptures, and the simple conversion put the Lions back in front.
With time almost up, Rugby were safely able to see out the remainder of game without threat and the final whistle sounded to secure a vital five- point victory.
Although still not mathematically safe from relegation, Lions are now six points clear of Melbourne, who have two games left, one of those against Dudley Kingswinford.
Next week the Lions host near neighbours Lutterworth in the final fixture of the season. 3pm kick-off.